Theresa May will warn European leaders today that Britain will make no more concessions on Brexit until they compromise on opening trade and transition talks.
The embattled prime minister will use a statement to the House of Commons to tell other member states that “the ball is in their court” as British negotiators return to Brussels.
She will also implicitly warn of the risk of talks breaking down, calling for both sides to be constructive and “prove the doomsayers wrong”.
Downing Street pointed out yesterday that neither the EU as a whole nor Michel Barnier, its chief negotiator, had ever defined what “sufficient progress” meant and said this would be a decision for national leaders alone to make.
The statement is also a sign that after days of turmoil and talk of leadership challenges Mrs May is in no position to make further concessions on money without tangible progress on the UK’s key demands.
Michael Gove has added to the pressure on Mrs. May by demanding in cabinet that fisheries policy is not included in any no-change transition deal.
The environment secretary is privately arguing that fishing policy must be repatriated as soon as Britain leaves the EU and not at the end of a two-year implementation period.
It’s about time May stood up to the EU.
- Long ago I raised the threat of closing UK waters to EU fishing boats.
- As I also pointed out, the UK ought to threaten lowering its corporate tax rate as well.
- Finally, if there is no transition period, May should again reiterate the EU will get a divorce settlement of precisely zero.
Those three points qualify as sufficient “progress” in my book. Progress that May has finally had enough and makes it known the UK will not roll over and played for patsies.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock